The Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) announced this week that it has picked the East Boston Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) as the designated developer of a city-owned parcel on Condor Street across from the Hess Site.
Following a series of community meetings with the Eagle Hill Civic Association (EHCA) where DND officials got feedback from residents on what type of project the community would like to see at the site DND sent out an RFP. In it, the city asked interested parties to come up with plans that included affordable housing that includes a substantial amount of units for artists living and workspace.
NOAH was one of three proposals submitted to DND as part of the RFP and community process. Z Capital Investment and Pennrose Properties, LLC were the other two developers that put forth proposals.
“NOAH is very excited to learn that our team has been selected as the designated developer by the City for the three Condor Street parcels,” said NOAH’s Executive Director Phil Giffee. “We worked hard to listen to the community about their needs and desires for this artist preferred housing. Our architects, East Boston’s own Joy Street Design, created a very attractive, accessible yet practical layout, which will accommodate the needs of artists and non-artists alike. There will be both privacy and hospitable community spaces for the residents and visitors.”
Giffee said NOAH will partner with the East Boston Community Development Corporation (CDC) to create a 41-unit project that includes a mixed-use, mixed-income, ownership/rental housing and gallery spaces for Eastie artist community and community at large.
NOAH’s project, dubbed ‘Aileron’ will include 8 ownership units, half workforce and half market, in one building with 33-units occupying a larger building next door. Of the 33 units in the larding building 17 will be set aside for artist work/living space.
NOAH is also proposing two large common spaces, a Gallery and Workbar, that will be available for the other residents in the building. These are communal spaces and are not be strictly artist work space. Giffee said the ‘workbar’ space will be on the ground floor of the 33-unit rental building.
The Gallery space will have wireless internet access, mirrored walls and perhaps a gas-fed fireplace. NOAH envisions a comfortable, neatly appointed space where there can be conversion, communication and community for artists. Giffee said neighborhood residents who are interested in having a space to work can access this space as well. Also, there will be an open streetscape concept in the rental building that will highlight public studio and gallery spaces on the ground floor.
“There are 41 units of housing but people walking or driving by will see only the modern, striking exterior as the parking will be underneath in the rear,” said Giffee. “Since East Boston is such a hot and desirable market, the City liked our ability to create both ownership, 8 units, and a variety of rental units, 31 units, for diverse income levels.”
Giffee said NOAH named the project Aileron because it will help the area take flight economically and culturally.
“It will be a unique looking project on Condor Street, which is seeing more and more development these days,” he said. “We thank Mayor Walsh for picking our local team, including the East Boston CDC as the management company, for our ability to design and build this community-inspired venture. We can’t wait to get started.”
Z Capital proposed a mix of artist rental housing and homeownership units. Z Capital wanted to develop 10 affordable homeownership townhouses on the parcel as well as two additional buildings with 38 affordable rental units that served artists.
On the other hand Pennrose Properties wanted to develop an intentional artist live-work community where artists could pursue their craft, innovate and collaborate with their peers, and live communally with others who share their passion for arts and creativity. Pennrose proposed 58 new housing units. Out of those units four would have been homeownership townhouses and 54 would have been rental units. Twenty-seven of the 54 rental units would have been dedicated for artists while the remaining 27 units would have been open to the general public.
In the end, the community favored the NOAH project over the other two at the series of DND sponsored community meetings and letters during the public comment period.